There was a local restaurant chain in Columbus that I frequented growing up, that was known for their chicken tortilla soup. I’d tried it before, back when I ate meat, and I liked how spicy it was but I wasn’t crazy about it. It lost a bit of its appeal when we found out that this “delicious” soup, came from a giant frozen bag that was shipped to the store. What a shame. I’d hate to see the ingredients list on there.
But ever since then, I’ve liked the idea of tortilla soup. Any soup that lets me sprinkle some tortilla chips on top is delicious in my book. When I saw an almost empty bag of tortilla chips sitting on the countertop, I knew their destiny should be soup. I scanned Pinterest for some tortilla soup recipes, but sadly, most of them contained chicken. What’s a vegetarian to do? Experiment.
So Alex and I ran to the grocery store, and I picked out some staple ingredients (avocados, peppers, and tomatoes always seem to make their way into my basket) and after church, I did some testing in the kitchen. It came together perfectly!
Vegan Chickpea Tortilla Soup
Note: If you do use a jalapeno (or habanero pepper) wear gloves while you’re cutting it up! The first time I did this, I forgot about it and my fingertips were burning the rest of the night!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 3 bowls
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded* (Optional)
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 28oz can of tomatoes
- 1 12oz can chickpeas
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 ears of corn (or 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn)
- 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
- 1/2 avocado
- Handful of tortilla chips, crushed
- Dice the onion, bell pepper and garlic.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet, and add in diced onion, bell pepper and garlic.
- Slice the jalapeno pepper, and remove the seeds.
- Dice the jalapeno and add it into the skillet. (Depending on how hot you like it, you could add in the pepper seeds, but I’d leave them out if you’re not sure! We seeded the pepper but also added in a habanero pepper and it was super spicy!)
- Once the onion and peppers begin to get soft, add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, salt, and cumin.
- Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 20 minutes.
- While that’s cooking, “grill” the corn, which for me, was heating up a little oil in a skillet and letting the corn roll around for about 7 minutes over medium heat, or until parts of the ear were brown.
- Let cool, and then use a sharp knife to cut the corn off the cob. Set aside.
- Wash and roughly chop the cilantro.
- Grab the avocado half and slice into thin strips.
- When you’re ready to serve, top with fresh cilantro, corn, avocado and crushed tortilla chips.
The first time I made this, I added an extra habanero pepper to ours, and it was super spicy! If you’re not a huge fan of spice, leave it out. I think we were both sweating by the end of this dinner. Still, it was good, and an easy dinner to make with only one pot to clean!
If you don’t have any tortilla chips around, you can easily make your own with a few corn tortillas! Just slice them into strips with a pizza cutter, spread them on baking sheet, spray them with olive oil, and bake for a few minutes at 350 until they begin to brown! We made a batch the last time we made this soup and they were delicious!
What’s your favorite kind of soup?
This post was originally published in July 2013, updated October 2017.